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PBS News Hour

News/Business. Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff, Jeffrey Brown. (2012) New. (CC) (Stereo)

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Iraq 17, Chicago 14, Syria 10, Romney 9, Washington 8, Asperger 7, U.s. 6, Rahm Emmanuel 5, Iran 5, Us 5, Suarez 4, Warner 4, Karen Lewis 4, Brown 4, Jeff 2, Pbs Newshour 2, Macneil Lehrer 2, Jay Carney 2, Stu 2, Stephen Strasburg 2,
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  PBS    PBS News Hour    News/Business. Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff,  
   Jeffrey Brown.  (2012) New. (CC) (Stereo)  

    September 10, 2012
    6:00 - 6:59pm EDT  

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: the race for the white house turns a post-convention corner, as president obama's campaign says it beat mitt romney in fundraising last month. good evening. i'm jeffrey brown. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, as polls show a gap opening up between the candidates, is the republican ticket shifting its message more toward the middle? we break down the latest from the campaign trail with stu rothenberg and susan page. >> brown: then, no school in chicago. we update the heated labor dispute between the city and its teachers over pay for performance and other issues. >> woodruff: margaret warner examines the death sentence handed down to iraq's sunni vice president, tariq al-hashimi, as fears there rise of spreading sectarian violence.
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>> brown: special correspondent john tulenko reports on a community college program that has turned wine into jobs in washington state. >> i wanted to teach them how to make good wine. we got the medals. wow, we did it. it's happening. >> woodruff: making a tough call in the heat of a pennant race. we'll talk about why the washington nationals have benched ace pitcher stephen strasburg. >> brown: and lessons in tv reporting, as therapy for kids with asperger's syndrome. >> my favorite part about action 7 is getting to do what all the others get to do and letting your friends and be you. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: soon computing intelligence
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in unexpected places will change our lives in truly profound ways. technology can provide customized experiences, tailored to individual consumer preferences. igniting a world of possibilities from the inside out, sponsoring tomorrow starts today. >> bnsf railway. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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>> woodruff: 56 days and counting: that's how the political calendar looked today for president obama and republican mitt romney. with the conventions behind them, the candidates jockeyed for any advantage in a close race. the president entered the final stretch of the campaign with a slight lead in the polls after the two-party convention. but at the white house today, press secretary jay carney took the cautious view. >> this is going to be a close race. it has been and will be. the president is very focusedded on traveling around the country, coming out of the convention in charlotte and traveling around the country as he did these last several days, explaining to the american people what his vision is. >> woodruff: hours earlier the obama re-election effort and the democratidemocratic committee ad they hauled in $114 million last month. that was just enough to top the
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$111 million raised by mitt romney and the republican national committee. it was also the first time since april that the democrats won the monthly money race. romney campaigned in mansfield, ohio, today hoping to make headway by hammering again at the president's economic leadership. after friday's weaker than expected jobs report. >> forward is his campaign slogan. i think forewarned is a better term. we know what would happen if he were re-elected. we'd see more years of high unemployment. we'd see more years of massive deficits. we'd see more years of almost no wage growth in this country. >> woodruff: at the same time, romney aides denied he has begun moderating his tone to attract independent voters. the question arose after his appearance on nbc's "meet the press." romney said he would keep certain parts of the president's health care law but still wants
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to repeal the overall statute. >> i'm not getting rid of all of health care reform, of course. there are a number of things that i like in health care reform that i'm going to put in place. one is to make sure that those woo preexisting conditions can get coverage. >> woodruff: his campaign clarified he meant preexisting conditions only for those who had kept continuous insurance coverage. romney and his running mate paul ryan also attacked the president for not offering much-needed tax relief. on abc's "this week" ryan was pressed on the romney plan to cut tax rates by 20% and pay for it in part by closing loopholes. >> don't voters have a right to know which loopholes you're going to go after? >> mitt romney and i based on our experience think the best way to do this is to show the framework, show the outlines of these plans and then to work with congress to do this. that's how you get things done. >> woodruff: later in florida, mr. obama said that answer did nothing to make sense of the tax
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proposal put forward by the republicans. >> listen, you have to do the math because when my opponents were asked about it today, they couldn't. it was like, two plus one equals five. they couldn't answer questions about how they would pay for $5 trillion in new tax cuts and $2 trillion in new defense spending without raising taxes on the middle class. that's not bold leadership. that's bad math. >> woodruff: the long distance jousting resumed this week with the candidates criss-crossing battle ground states. romney will be in nevada and florida. the president will hit nevada and colorado. for more on what's driving today's developments, we turn to susan page, washington bureau chief of "u.s.a. today." and stuart rothenberg of the "rothenberg political report" and "roll call" newspaper. good to have you both back with us again. >> thanks. woodruff: stu, where does this race stand right now with conventions over? >> i'm not sure we know, judy.
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it depends whether we're still seeing the bounce out of the democratic convention or whether this is the new normal. you know, coming out of these events is almost the worst time to try to figure out exactly where the race is. i think two or three days from now things will have settled down and we'll know whether the president has added to his overall reputation and lead in the race. i think he certainly is better off now than he looked a week ago. >> woodruff: he did pick up a few points, the president did. >> he did. in fact i think we've hit a turning point in the campaign. all the ads, all the newsy vents for months and months failed to shake this race, essentially a tie. now president obama has a narrow lead but a real lead in a series of polls, a gallup poll, the pew poll. i think that that indicates that his convention was pretty suck sisful. things can still happen. we have the debates coming up. i think the conventions have had a real effect on this race. >> woodruff: the money that was announced. the president raised $114 million, stu, last month
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slightly beating romney. were you surprised? he hasn't been able to do that for a few months. >> romney has been outraising him and seemed to have the financial momentum. if romney had outraised him $114 to $111 instead of the reverse it wouldn't be a dramatic difference but this adds to the overall impression of some momentum with the president's convention combined with the convention and the poll numbers adds up to a feel-good moment i think. >> before we move on, think about how much money got raised. $226 million in august? that's more than these candidates would have gotten for the whole campaign if they had stayed in public financing. the amount of money being pumped into this campaign is something we have never seen before. with consequences that i think we have an entirely figured out. >> add to that how few swing voters there are. how few people are going to be influenced with all this money. it is amazing. >> woodruff: you see occasionally this. people calculate and say maybe it's just 50,000 voters or fewer who have the potential to be swayed by that much money.
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>> the canned days go door to door and just bring checks because that would be less expensive than the ads. >> woodruff: susan, what do the campaigns need to focus on? we know they're going from swing state to states but what about voters groups. >> white women are a key. white women tend to be late deciders. they say between 30 and 55, a lot of them are married. a lot of them have kids. hard-hit by the recession and the slow recovery. late deciders so they are disproportionately represented in that dwindling group of persuadable voters who are left. i think you saw that at both conventions. i mean who spoke from in the prime time hours? it was the spouses' of the candidates. the women governors on the republican side. the women senators on the democratic side. both parties i think telegraphed who it was they were trying to reach at the two conventions. >> woodruff: we were just discussing the women standing behind president obama. that's never a coincidence. >> that is very well planned.
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i think susan is exactly right. particularly talking about suburban women who may be cross pressured and feel that the democratic agenda on the cultural issues, they may be more comfortable with that. in terms of jobs and the economy and income growth, they're not satisfied with how the president has performed. >> woodruff: why are they taking longer to make up their minds? >> a lot of them have busy lives. some people are sending their kids to summer camp and getting them back to school or living their lives and not focusing on politics. a lot of them tuning in at this point in the elections. that's one reason the conventions matter. as stu was saying they're disappointed in president obama but not yet sold on mitt romney. that's the question for the 57 days going forward. do they get convinced that i'm disappointedded in obama but i trust him more? do they get persuaded that mitt romney will look out for their interests? >> i think that the obama campaign has done one thing particularly well over the past six weeks, couple of months.
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they kept the focus on the comparison between the president and governor romney. so the basis for making a discussion has been really comparing these two people as we know the republicans wanted to be a referendum on the economy. i just think the democrats have done a better job so far on that. >> woodruff: what about the attention? this came up in the meet the press interview with governor romney over the weekend where he was asked to explain what loopholes is is he going to cut in order to make up the money that's lost from the tax cuts. he didn't want to go in the specifics. neither has congressman ryan. how much do they really need to go into specifics? >> i think they need to be providing more specifics than they are now because they are making the story the fact that they have a plan but they don't tell us how they're going to get there. if you just take what we know already the numbers don't add up. they talk about increasing revenues while reducing the tax rate. you need to figure out how you're going to do that. i think that especially in the debate, you know, the october 3 debate which is focused on domestic and economic policy, the first one out, i'm assuming
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they're going to get pressed that governor romney will get pressed for some specifics. i think he probably will have to have them or we're going to hear from barack obama in that forum criticizing him for not. >> i think it's interesting that here september 10, we are discussing why there haven't been details. these kinds of things are usually established much earlier in the cycle with papers and detailed proposals. it is an odd time to be talking about dames. but it appears to me that neither campaign frankly wants to discuss details. for the republicans... >> woodruff: why not? i think they think the details can alienate people, can turn off people. they don't want to do that. you provide details. and the opposition can pick them apart. that's the environment we're in political environment we're in. >> you provide details and people get a sense that you have a plan, that if i elect you, you know what you're going to do. i can see what you're going to do. we can see if it's going to work. >> i agree. i think romney too long has gone in front of crowds with frankly
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with platitudes rather than detail. >> woodruff: one detail he provided yesterday at least he was more clear about it is that he does want to keep part of health care reform. that's covering preexisting conditions as long as these are folks who have continued to make their insurance payments. >> you know, the words were actually not so different from the republican primaries because then he talked about repealing obama care. boy was the music different because the whole emphasis now is on much more appealing much more to independent voters who are friendlier to health care reform than those republican primary voters who are real he opposed to it. >> he did back himself a little bit in the corner rhetorically in terms of style and feel. i think he's trying to move around a little bit and it's advisable that he do that. i think where he sounded like he was at the other day is a better position for him to be rather than simply saying get rid of it. >> woodruff: 57 days to go. and counting. stu rothenberg, susan page, thank you both. >> thank you.
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s. >> brown: still to come on the newshour, teachers take to the picket lines in chicago; sectarian strife roils iraq; better futures grown on the vine; protecting the health of an ace pitcher; and tv news as therapy for asperger's. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan >> sreenivasan: congress returned to work today from the summer recess, but with muted expectations. major decisions were expected to wait until after the election. republicans running the house and democrats leading the senate did hope to agree on a six-month spending bill. that would fund the government operations and buy time to deal with major decisions on taxes and spending. the mayor of trenton, new jersey, will face federal corruption charges. the f.b.i. arrested mayor tony mack early today. he allegedly plotted to take bribes of more than $100,000. u.s. attorney paul fishman said the mayor's so-called "bagman," joseph georgianni, was recorded comparing them to a notorious 19th-century boss in new york. you will see that the complaint describes a conversation in which he talks glowingly of boss tweed and
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tamany hall, one of the high or i guess the low water marks of political corruption in our country's history. he also told the cooperating witness that merrimack uses him as an intermediary or as he described it, quote, a buffers. as long as you have buffers you're safe, he says. >> sreenivasan: mack faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. wall street started the week on a down note after last week's rally. the dow jones industrial average lost 52 points to close at 13,254. the nasdaq fell 32 points to close at 3104. there's word that a u.s. drone strike killed al-qaeda's number two leader in yemen last week. senior defense officials in both countries today reported the death of saeed al-shihri. he spent six years at the u.s. military prison at guantanamo bay, cuba, before being released. al-shihri's death could be a serious blow to al-qaeda's most active branch. the main american-run prison in afghanistan was handed over to afghan control today. the formal transfer at bagram prison was attended by high- ranking afghan ministers but not
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their american counterparts. the u.s. is holding on to hundreds of taliban suspects out of fear that afghan officials will simply let them go. meanwhile, hours after the handover, a suicide bomber struck in the northern city of kunduz. the attack killed 15 people and wounded 25 others. in syria, the death toll from a car bomb in aleppo grew to 30. more than 60 people were wounded in the blast that went off near two hospitals, late last night. state media blamed rebels for the attack, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: we've heard much about education reform in recent years, and again in the political conventions that just ended. in chicago, the issue and fight has spilled into the streets. hours after a midnight deadline passed, chicago public school teachers headed not for the classroom but for the picket lines. it was the first time in 25 years that teachers have vancouvestruckthe nation's thirt school system and it came after
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five months of negotiations over pay and health benefits and over tying teacher performance to student results on standardized tests. late last night the talks involving 26,000 teachers and support staff broke down. >> this is a difficult decision. and one we hoped we could have avoided. we must do things differently in this city if we are to provide our students with the education they so rightfully deserve. >> brown: mayor rahm emmanuel had a very different view today as he talked to students on chicago's south side. >> i believe that what has been discussed over the last 100-plus meetings over five months, over 400 hours an agreement that is an honest compromise. this is in my view a strike of choice. it's the wrong choice for our
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children. >> brown: the strike left nearly 400,000 pupils in limbo. officials plan to open 140 schools for half days to feed those who get free breakfast and lunch. but some of the parents arriving at those schools today were anything but happy. >> how dare you guys stop school in session? how dare you do that to our children. what are you thinking about? not about them. >> i'm a parent myself. we recognize how hard this is for parents. we're working as hard as we can to solve the issues of this school so the school can open. >> brown: when that might happen remains unclear. the talks between the union and the city resumed today. the chicago strike also found its way into the presidential campaign the chicago strike also found its way into the presidential campaign today. mitt romney blamed the teachers union and accused president obama of siding with it. white house spokesman jay carney rejected that and said the president was urging a quick settlement. and mayor rahm emmanual, a former white house chief of staff, said he didn't give "two hoots" about comments trying to
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embarrass the president. eddie arruza has been following the strike for "chicago tonight" at public broadcasting's wttw. eddie, first help us to understand what this is all about. what are the key issues here? >> well, jeff, it's rather unusual that a strike is not about compensation but it appears that that one issue that both sides are very close to agreeing on. the mayor says that the city is offering 16% over the next four years, but the key issue that the teacher union president says are most at play are teacher recall, that is, laid-off teachers being hired back and teacher evaluations. now, the teacher union president says that too much emphasis is being placed on standardized test results and that in many schools throughout chicago where students have a lot of difficulties outside of school
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that test scores do not always result in a fair assessment of how teachers are doing. >> brown: just give us a little bit of context here. is there a history of tension? there has been a lot of experimentation in chicago over the years. how do we get to this point? >> well, as some may know, about 17 years ago, 1995 or so, the former mayor daly, richard m. daly took over control of the schools. for the most part during his tenure up until last year, he kept peace with the union, the teachers union, and there were few times when there was a lot of disagreement but the schools always started on time. last year when mayor rahm emmanuel took office, he was instrumental in passing state legislation to reform schools. among the issues that the state
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approved was how much control principals and the chicago board of education would have over schools. they also changed ways in which the teachers union could bargain, negotiate, for their contract. so that is what is is at play this time around. >> brown: you mentioned rahm emmanuel. you have some large personalities in play there i guess. he comes with national attention already. he of course was involved with some of these issues when he was at the white house. then you have the teachers union chief karen lewis. tell us about... is it a personality clash? >> well, it doesn't seem to be a personality clash. but these are two very strong-willed people. many people know rahm emmanuel as the former white house chief of staff. there is a legendary story about him sending arrive al a dead fish in the mail. there's also a story of him accosting a congressman in the
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congressional locker room in the showers no less to try to convince him to change his vote. and then we have karen lewis who is also a larger-than-life person. she has been very successful in rallying her membership behind her and their cause. and in terms of how the two ghettoing, they have met behind closed doors. karen lewis once said that the mayor was pretty assertive with her, even using a profanity towards her. but at the end of their meeting, they... she said that they hugged and that all was well after that. but we have two very strong personalities, rahm emmanuel who wants things done his way and karen lewis who is fighting for her 26,000 members. >> brown: what is the atmosphere then today? how is the city? how are citizens responding? >> well, we heard in that piece one parent who was less than happy with how things are developing today. but it seems that there is a lot
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of support for teachers among parents and among the community. at this hour, there is a huge rally in downtown chicago, mostly of teachers. thousands of teachers have taken to the streets right outside the chicago board of education to march through downtown chicago. there are rolling street closures as we speak. but at the same time the negotiations have continued on this first day of the strike both sides were back at the bargaining table. as of 11:30 this morning they are still at it today. whether they can reach a consensus tonight and have schools back in operation tomorrow, we'll just have to wait and see. >> brown: eddie, just very briefly. is there a sense there -- because these fights have gone on around the country -- is there a sense that others are watching and waiting to see what the outcome will be? >> definitely. this strike is making national headlines. there are a lot of school districts that in these tough budgetary times are looking to see what the outcome of this stand-off here in chicago will
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be. especially when it comes to teacher evaluations and how teachers, how schools and school districts can control the teachers that are hired and fired. so there's a lot at stake here not just here for chicago but for many other school districts around the country. >> brown: eddie arruza of w.t.t.w., thanks so much. >> thank you, jeff. >> woodruff: we now to turn to iraq, where a major political figure was sentenced to death- and nearly 100 people were killed in a wave of attacks across the country. margaret warner examines the ruling and sectarian unrest in the nation that borders syria. warner: iraq's fugitive vice president, to wreak el hashemi was all smiles in turkey sunday despite word he had been sentenced to death in absentia by a court in baghdad. today he called a news
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conference in and car a to proclaim his innocence. >> i totally reject and will never recognize the ankara... the unjust, the political... >> warner: the sunni leader fled iraq last december after he was charged with overseeing death squads that killed government officials and rivals between 2005 and 2011. he accused iraq's shiite prime minister nouri al-maliki of ginning up the case. he insisted today he'll remain, in effect, an outlaw rather than return to iraq to seek a new trail. >> i consider this a medal on my chest and a cost that i have to pay in return of my absolute dedication in serving my country iraq and my people the iraqis. >> warner: all of which which
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raised new questions about iraq's ability to bridge sectarian division and share power among imagine swrort shiites, sunnies and curds. in washington, that issue was much on the minds of state department officials today. >> we are concerned about the potential for an increase in unhelpful rhetoric and tension on all sides. and we call on all of iraq's leaders to continue to try to resolve their disputes consist tent with the rule of law. >> warner: instead major new violence erupted sunday in iraq as bombings and shootings in more than a dozen cities killed more than 100 people, one of the highest death tolls this year. none of the killings were directly linked to the hashemi case but al qaeda has claimed responsibility for other recent high-profile attacks. the group hassles announced it's seeking to take back control of sunni regions across iraq.
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for more now, i'm joined by dr. laith kubba. he was the spokesman for the iraqi government in 2005, now a senior director for the middle east at the national endowment for democracy. and feisal istrabadi, who served as iraq's ambassador to the united nations from 2004 to 2007. he's now the director of the center for middle east studies at indiana university. laith kubba, beginning with you. what does this death sentence and the reaction to it tell us about the state of play in iraq right now, particularly politically? >> well, it's obviously a sign that it will raise the temperature at a difficult moment. if it happened years ago maybe iraq could bear it. the fact that it is happening now in the context of iraq's internal problems and what's going on in the region is worrying. you have a huge bloc which is a bloc that more or less won the largest votes in iraq. it has put its weight behind the
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vice president. i think other sunni leaders are worried if this passes, then they might be next on the list. i think the kurds have been unhappy for a while. all of this is going to raise the temperature. bear in mind while the people themselves, the iraqis, can live without sectarian tension, they're okay but their politicians are playing the sentiments. this is what is worrying. the timing it of it is most worrying. >> warner: faisel istrabadi, how do you see it? >> i agree with much of what laith has said. the problem is that as the political leaders in iraq continue to play the sectarian games, you also see that reflected in the broader population. it is very worrying. it seems to me a sign that maliki does not intend to engage in reconciliation and in power-sharing. instead that he intends to assert his continuing dominance
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over iraq. that too is a worrying sign. >> warner: what about that point, laith kubba, the criticism that maliki really is not sharing power. where does the truth of that lie? >> well, i think maliki... arner: i mean there are some sunnies in the coalition government. are there not? >> right. i think to be like really accurate here, maliki, by his instinct, realizes that a lot of iraqis want a strong state. they want to build state institutions. they want security. this will not come cost free. so i think maybe he took advantage like any other politician of pushing the envelope there. >> warner: meaning that the iraqis wantedded stability above all and so he thought even if it means having a strong manjoo right. >> i think opinion polls especially among the shiites gives him positive feedback that the more than he is taking those daring risks, he's actually gaining pop layer. it might be at the expense of other important things, but by
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and large the feedback he is getting is encouraging him to go that way. now again taken out of context you might say this is okay. but in reality iraq is still fragile. democracy is still a work in progress. you don't have a navy that will keep an eye on power. you don't have a strong judicial system. so you're having violations. and in an atmosphere where power is politicized so much, this becomes a problem. >> warner: faisel istrabadi, no group claimed responsibility for these bombings, these coordinated bombings on sunday. but are they part and particle of the same sectarian tensions politically? >> i think so. we always say that al qaeda is responsible for these things. it probably is. and in the next few days it may or may not claim responsibility. the issue is where does the
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average sunni, say, in anbar province, which direction does he decide to go? if he sees that whether he votes or whether he stays at home or whether he votes for sectarian candidates or whether he votes for a nonsectarian nationalist candidate and whether they lose the election or whether they win the election, absolutely no change occurs in the governing structure of the country. that individual may well start to look the other way as al qaeda attempts to reinfiltrate in iraq. that's the real danger, as i see it. >> warner: laith kubba, what's the overlap between what is happening in iraq right now and what's happening in syria? >> a great great deal. number one. sectarianism in syria is now fully fledged there. i think this is going to resonate in iraq. do not forget violence in iraq is still an active memory. it's not in the residual memory.
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this can easily be reignited in iraq. in fact, there are hundreds if not thousands of people crossing the borders both ways. now if iran strategically loses syria, which is where things are heading, iran will increase and consolidate its presence in iraq because that is... it's going to with become a vital frontier for iran. that fight is going to move into iraq. we've already seen tension with turkey. so the spillover of what's happening in syria will resonate not only amongst iraqi politicians but it will cut much deeperren side iraq. >> warner: how do you see the connection with syria? is it that al qaeda in iraq has been exporting fighters and weapons into syria? or is it a blow-back from syria into iraq or both? >> i think it's a little bit of both. we have had periods where the current syrian regime has
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allowed al qaeda to use syrian territory as a launching ground to enter iraq through the early period of the u.s. invasion. there may be some cross-border, you know, going the other way. but fundamentally it's a fairly pour us border. what you have to keep in mind that is some in iraq will enjoy the support of most of iraq's neighbors, all of them with the possible exception of iran. this is a very worrying sign if you are trying to engender genuine stability, not stability as to the... at the barrel of a gun. >> warner: laith kubba, does that mean that this can really fragment into a broader sunni-shia conflict in the region? >> i think, as i said, the temperature has risen. we're getting closer to a break point. i think as far as al qaeda, just to underline, it's a living organization. it's finding an on propose rit climate. it will reroot itself.
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it will touch iraq. it's totally independent factor. but then you go into the other politics. i think that faisel mentioned. which is there is the shia-sunni issue. there are iraq' neighbors who are all looking at the strategic balance against iran. and iraq is getting to be a frontier for that fight. >> warner: not a pretty picture. laith kubba and faisel istrabadi, thank you both. >> thank you. >> woodruff: you can see margaret's blog post about the sentencing and sectarian tensions in iraq on our world page online. >> brown: now, higher education, jobs, and fine wine. leaders in business and politics are increasingly looking to community colleges to help train students and, in some cases, even connect them directly with potential employers. special correspondent john tulenko of "learning matters" has a story about the unusual
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path one college in washington state is taking. reporter: the 2012 seattle wine awards. showcasing the best in washington state wines. >> we have over 700 wineries. we make some of the best cabernet, reisling and merlot. we're one of the top places in the world for making fine wine. >> reporter: one champion receiving three double gold medals was an entry few had ever heard of. college cellars. >> very full bodied. i like it. >> reporter: made by students learning wine making at their local community college. >> we entered six wines. we went six-for-six. >> reporter: wine instructor tim donahue. >> that was the goal from day one. wanted to teach them how to make good wine. we get the medals. it's like wow, we did it. it just happened. >> reporter: the mine was made here, 270 miles southeast of
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seattle in walla walla, washington. best known for its fertile farmlands, onions an onion appl. it was here 12 years that the community college launched its wine school, the first of its kind in the nation. >> you want a bottle ready to go. if you don't they could drip a little bit. >> reporter: the two-year degree program covers everything from grape growing and pressing to barreling, blending and tasting. taught hands on at the college's vineyard. >> it's hard, hard work. a lot of people think it's sipping wine. it's not. you're cold. you're wet. you're in a cellar. you're lifting heavy things. there's definitely a solid blue-collar job. i was impressed with how much they're able to cram into two years. >> reporter: the program attracts students from across the country. many of whom, like tyler tennyson, come to wine making from other careers. >> i was a commercial prayer. i got... commercial appraiser. i got laid off. i called my wife and i said i
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have good news and i have bad news. the bad news is i got laid off. the good news is we can move to walla walla. six weeks later, i was starting the program and doing a harvest. >> reporter: after graduating, tyler was hired as a cellar master, overseeing all aspects of production at seven hills vintage, a premiere wine maker in walla walla. >> i felt totally competent coming out of the program, totally competent to step into a winery and play an active role in wine making. >> reporter: a recent survey of graduates found 80% are working in the wine industry. as vineyard managers, wine makers, cellar workers, and wine sellers. most are in earn between $25,000 and $55,000 a year. as much this is a story about wine making, it's also a story with walla walla, a small town like many others that was hit hard. and what happened when the community college decided to play a part in helping to turn things around.
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before making wine, walla walla was famous for wheat and other crops that brought prosperity to the valley for more than 100 years. but in the 1990s, free trade agreements flooded the market with cheap imported produce. >> we started losing our food processing industry. which provided hundreds of jobs for people. >> reporter: the college president. >> quality of life diminished. we saw more store fronts that were vacant. companies basically went out of business and closed. >> reporter: bad as things were, they were about to get better. sensing potential in the soil and climate here, a small group of pioneering wine makers had started growing grapes. >> i noticed here at the college in our planning, gee, is there something we could do maybe to help what could be an emerging industry and opportunity? >> reporter: their answer: the wine school.
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to supply the trained work force the industry needed to grow. >> the industry was the one that dictated the curriculum. it helped us design the building. >> this is cabernet. reporter: miles anderson who founded one of the region's first vineyards while teaching psychology at the college, was tapped to run the program. >> they said we want a practical, concrete, hands-on. so that's what we've done. >> reporter: over the next 12 years, wineries in the valley took off, growing from a total of 19 to 174. a town that had been in decline saw its fortunes reversed. >> we have 29 tasting rooms downtown. we have great restaurants again. and we have great places for people to visit. so it's flourishing. >> reporter: a wine tourist spends about two-and-a-half times as much at their destination as the average tourist. so attracting tourists and
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keeping them here became an objective. >> reporter: along with wine making, the course offerings include programs in culinary arts and golf course management. is that the proper role of a community college, to foster a hospitality business? >> for students, their primary interest in life is preparing for work. having a secure job. it's all about jobs. and quality of life and standard of living and wages today, i think. >> reporter: but some are hungry for more. jody middleton already had a job at a juice processing plant. so did jeremy petty. born and raised in walla walla, they had been friends for years. >> we met in middle school, played football together side by side on the offensive line. we protected our quarterback. we're working together again. >> reporter: dreaming of a vineyard of their own, together they enrolled in wine school.
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they took hands-on learning to a whole other level. one assignment was to create the layout for a vineyard. >> what have we got here? reporter: first they drew it. then? all this you guys built. >> from the ground up. reporter: they planted their vineyard in an empty field beside jeremy's house. while it was taking root they gave themselves another challenge. >> we just kind of said let's just make some wine. how are you going to understand better than actually doing it? >> they said, well, you know, what if we want to make wine at home? you know, there's a secret in the wine industry. i might get in trouble for letting this out. every year there's always fruit hanging around somewhere. it's not good. it's stuff that got rejected because it's moldy or wrong but it's your first time making wrong you're going to screw it up anyway. so do what you can. >> we drove out to the vineyard in the semi. i had my kids and his kids and all the family. we all picked everything. >> the next thing you know, they found some used barrels. they found little things here and there. they just went for it.
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their investment in the wine industry is unheard of, how small it is. they made pretty good wine. >> a little bit of... we're going to have about 300 cases from our first vintage. we'll be bottling here shortly. >> reporter: the harvest from their backyard vineyard will yield another 85 cases. then they'll start selling. does the wine have a name? >> ear going with j and jvintners. jeremy and jody. >> the dream is to build a business that is going to sustain our families and it will be great. be our own bosses. be able to have something, a legacy to pass down to our children. >> reporter: if j & jvintners receive they'll add to a growing list of colleges. the college believes tomorrow's opportunities lie close to walla walla's roots. training water resource managers
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to protect streams that feed the vineyards and above them technicians for some 5,000 wind turbines that power the area. >> they're still installing them. every eight to ten turbines requires a technician. the mission is for economic, environmental and cultural sustainability here. >> what we've done here is we've done creative risk taking. at times we did... we were going places that no one knew where we were going. so i call that leadership. leadership is going places that you've never gone before and taking people with you. >> reporter: for j and j vintners, the journey starts this fall. they launch with plans to sell their first 400 cases. >> brown: the walla walla program is is getting national >> brown: the walla walla program is getting national recognition for its work. for the past two years, it's been rated as one of the top ten community colleges by the aspen
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institute's college excellence program. the honors are given for efforts to significantly improve student outcomes in the classroom and job market. >> woodruff: now, to a baseball story that surprised many fans as the playoff season nears. what's behind a controversial decision to end a star pitcher's season when he is seemingly healthy? ray suarez has that story. >> suarez: 24-four-year old pitching ace stephen strasburg is considered among the best of his generation. with a record of 15 wins and six losses, the right-handed fastballer has had a big season for the washington nationals, who appear headed for the post- season. the city hasn't won a baseball championship since 1924. but strasburg had elbow reconstruction surgery in 2010, and team management announced yesterday he has pitched his final game of the year. it's a decision stirring up reactions from anger to surprise. joe lemire covers baseball for "sports illustrated" and joins me now.
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joe, originally i think the team announced he was going to pitch his last game on september 12 so they pulled the plug a little early, didn't they? >> they did. they ultimately decided that there had been such a distraction, whether it's through the media or on himself personally, putting pressure on himself, and they decided that he was done. he had had a couple of rocky outings among his last few starts so they decided that, you know, now is good enough. >> suarez: has a team in a pennant race ever done anything like this before? >> no. this is wholly unprecedented. you've only seen in the last, you know, decade or so, a real heightened awareness of pitchers' health in terms of pitch count and innings limits. so we're in somewhat new territory anyway but there have been very few who have been in the situation that the nationals are in. in fact none. they're in first place in their division. they are almost certainly going to make the play-offs. even when they get there,
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they're going to be a strong contender. the nationals have decided that strasburg, you know, the 24-year-old who can throw up to almost 100 miles an hour, is too valuable an asset to push too far so soon after elbow surgery. tommy johns surgery where they had to do a reconstruction of the ulner collateral ligment. >> suarez: so. the nationals have been doing a lot of internal studies among other pitchers who have had similar surgery and looking at their track records based on the number of innings they've throne after the surgery. one is his teammate who had had it a year previously pitched 116 innings last year and enjoyed a terrific season this year. they've been trying to mix together as much data as they can and trying to make an informed decision for the betterment of the pitchers' future and the team's future for the next several years rather than putting all their eggs in just this one basket this season. >> suarez: are there skeptics
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over the nationals' decision to in effect choose tomorrow over today? perhaps save a kid's arm, save a long-term prospect but then take a chance with this year's world series? >> there are plenty of skeptics. probably the majority opinion is certain skepticism. each individual pitcher reacts so differently to workload. even a certain number of innings may mean one thing for one pitcher but another pitcher may have thrown a lot more pitches and a lot more high-stress situations with the bases loaded rather than others so there's no clear-cut decision here. but the nationals say they've done their best to ask medical professionals, people in baseball and, as i said, cited the track records of other recent pitchers and make the most informed decision they can. >> suarez: strasburg isn't happy about the decision himself, is he? >> exactly that. he wasn't happy. he had trouble getting over it. as a kid he always dreamed of, you know, playing and winning a world series. that it would be difficult for
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him to not be with his teammates as they make a run for it. but he also had a bit of a reluctant agreement that the doctor who performd the surgery is one of the people who was polled for this study. he understands if people in the medical profession are standing by this, that he should too. >> suarez: does it mean going against the culture of a lot of big league sports where we lionize, we make heroes out of people who play hurt, who stick it out, who shake it off and run back on the field? >> it really is unique in that regard. even on a daily basis when you see the starting pitcher out on the mound and the manager comes out to relieve him for duty of the rest of the game, how often do you see the starting pitcher stand there, clutching the baseball not wanting to give it up even though he knows he has to. as i said it is unique in how proactive it is. the issue is and the general manager mike rizzo who is the
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man behind this position has said that he knows he will never really know if this was the exact right decision. you know, they could go on and win the world series without him. of course it will look good but they won't really know if having stopped him at 160 innings would really help his long-term future. at the same token he still could get hurt. there are so many variables with pitching. you know, pitchers are still getting injured at an alarming rate despite the amount of time and money that has gone into researching their health. a lottery mains to be seen but he is standing by his decision. in some tokens it's admirable that he is putting someone's health ahead of, yeah, putting hit health first. >> suarez: joe lemire of "sports illustrated" thanks for joining us. >> sure, thank you. >> brown: finally tonight, helping students deal with asperger's syndrome.
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newshour health correspondent betty ann bowser reports on a unique program in pennsylvania. reporter: it was straight to the top for this 11-year-old. he's already a television news anchor. and he's about to go live. >> this is action 7 news. hello. i'm reporting... >> reporter: news has an agenda at the elementary school in broomhall, pennsylvania. the reporters aren't simply young and driven. they also have asperger's syndrome. children with this form of autism often have trouble with social cues, like facial expressions and gestures and working well with others. that's the very reason asperger's specialist randy and speech pathologist kristin developed the newscast filled with kid friendly skits and
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commercials. they wanted their students to see the world from another angle. >> a lot of my kids are very black and white, so to speak, where they don't understand the middle area, the gray area. they may know happy. they may know sad. but they don't know the difference in between. >> reporter: a television journalist, even miniature ones, need to watch themselves from time to time. and think critically about how they present themselves. especially how they sound. >> i think the reporters are a good role model for students as far as good speaking skills. we always talk about how to be on a newscast you have to overenunciate. >> his owners mike even takes him on cross country races. >> you have to slow down your rate of speech. you have to really work on your pitch. you want to emphasize key words.
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>> in sports news, jeter hits 3.000. >> there's a lot of different parts of speech that you can work on while you work on the newscast. >> reporter: that's auggie, reporting the very latest in sports. when his mother michelle learned he had asperger's and would need treatment, this is an exact... this isn't exactly what she envisioned. >> i was a little angry when i first met everyone here and a little frustrated. you know, i was scared for my son. but i think being in the program for six years has changed the course of his life. i mean, the skills he's learned, coping skills, strategies, how to react to people and how to read people. >> reporter: it's a good perk. but the journalists themselves can think of a better one. when the half hour broadcast is complete each year, the whole school gathers to watch. >> i guess my favorite part about action 7 is, i guess,
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getting to do what all of the other skits and letting your friends envy you. >> reporter: even the anchor feels it. >> i've never been this famous before. >> reporter: for children with asperger's, kids who often stand out from the rest of the crowd, that feeling can be... well, monumental. >> one year i was over at the middle school. there was a huge, huge difference with the kids who had been through the program socially. not just with their confidence but with their social skills overall as a whole. >> reporter: at the moment, action 7 is the only program of its kind in the nation. at least as far as randy knows. but she also believes shining the kind of spotlight on kids with asperger's could be a good approach for any school. for the opinions newshour, i'm bete ann... oh, wait a minute. let's let one of them do it.
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>> reporting live, i'm aaron thomas for action 7 news. >> woodruff: we know who is out there to take our places. we're on notice. again, the major developments of the day. president obama and republican mitt romney pressed for any advantage, with 56 days to go until election day. the president's campaign reported raising slightly more money than romney's in august. and thousands of public school teachers went on strike in chicago, for the first time in 25 years. and to hari sreenivasan for what's on the newshour online, hari? >> sreenivasan: from our partners at globalpost, we get a firsthand account of a battle between government forces and rebel fighters in aleppo, syria. see the photos on our world page. and can newly minted u.s. citizens receive social security benefits? economist larry kotlikoff continues to answer your questions on making sense.
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all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. gwen? >> brown: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll cover the ceremonies marking another anniversary of september 11. i'm jeffrey brown. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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